The Boat of Fools.
In this, the first of a new series, our "Mystery Worshipper" makes an incognito visit to a church service and reports back.
This week I visited the church of Our Lady of Soho, for one of its final masses under the Very Extraordinary Form.
What was the name of the service? Massykins.
Did anyone welcome you personally? Yes, in fact a little too personally, really. "Ooh, here's a handsome lad, we haven't seen you before. Ooh, I just love that mask, sweetie! Versace, is it?"
The mystery worshipper attempted to blend in discreetly.
Was your pew comfortable? Not really. The pews were covered with soft furnishings, and I was told, "Leave the coverings on, gorgeous, we don't want to scratch those super pews, do we?"
How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere? Very gay.
What were the exact opening words of the service? Hello, super to see you! [And super to see you, too!]
What books did the congregation use during the service? There was a specially printed pink sheet with all the words of the hymns and liturgy, together with advertisements for unusual objects and services, and details of the church's other activities.
Did anything distract you? Yes, the man in the pew behind, who kept nudging me and saying "Everything all right, duckie?"
In a nutshell, what was the sermon about? There was a man named Vincent who cruelly betrayed the gay community simply in order to "gain Rome approval," as St Catherine the Popehater so eloquently expressed it. The woe and suffering of Soho was likened unto the torments of the damned in Hell. Vincent Nichols was a combination of Belshazzar, Judas Iscariot and St Paul - definitely "not one of us."
Vincent Nichols drives the gay community out of Soho.
What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost? Three men offered to take me out for some "pastoral care."
How would you describe the after-service coffee? No coffee, just crème de menthe, and some lovely fairy cakes.
From the service itself.
Next week, the mystery worshipper reports from Blogfen, the church to which only bloggers are admitted.